The transportation sector is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gases, making up 27% of total GHG emissions in the U.S., according to the EPA. As the industry looks toward greener solutions, two directions have emerged.
Many are looking to battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) to reduce fleet emissions. However, there’s another strong entry in the zero-emissions category: fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), powered by hydrogen.
We previously took a look at the rise of electric semis. In this article, we’ll take a look at hydrogen-powered medium- and heavy-duty trucks—as well as their advantages and drawbacks—as this technology continues to develop.
Advances in Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles
Hydrogen fuel cell medium- and heavy-duty vehicles offer some exciting possibilities in the area of zero-emissions fleets—and they’re already in use in many parts of the world.
Public transportation systems in London, China, and Hong Kong (among others) have introduced hydrogen fuel cell buses into their fleets, along with battery-electric buses. Hong Kong, in particular, with its steep hills and warm climate, can get better range from hydrogen-powered buses, as opposed to battery-electric ones. In the U.S., California leads the way with more than 50 hydrogen fuel cell buses.
The initial benefit of transitioning to hydrogen fuel cell vehicles is clear—an immediate drop in emissions. However, when it comes to medium- to heavy-duty vehicles that may need to haul heavy loads over long distances, choosing hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles comes with its own distinct set of advantages and disadvantages.